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The definitive breakdown of the Vikings’ long snapper battle

Because why not?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Positional battles are usually the main talking point through the spring and especially in training camp, and for good reason. Usually, one of those positional battles is not at the long snapper position, but this year we’re in for a treat. The Vikings drafted Air Force long snapper Austin Cutting in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, and that means...long snapper battle! And that means...time to watch some long snapper film and do a full breakdown of this competition. So here we go.

Kevin McDermott

Right, right. McDermott went undrafted out of UCLA in 2013 but signed with the 49ers and won the starting LS job after the draft. Then he was cut before the next season started and ended up playing part of the season with the Ravens. During the 2015 offseason, he signed with the Vikings and has been with them ever since.

A couple notable moments from his Vikings tenure: He dislocated his shoulder in late 2017 and missed the playoff run, but got the job back after the season. Last season, he lost the tip of his pinky finger when it got caught in a facemask, so what did he do? He returned to the game, like it was nothing. The guy literally lost part of a body part and was like, eh, whatever, let’s keep going. Legendary stuff, Kevin.

Anyways, this is the only highlight video I could find for him, because no one seems to have made a pro one. Obviously not ideal considering this was seven years ago and it doesn’t really make sense to evaluate a pro player based on his college highlights. So I’m going to not do that, but if you wanna watch some snapping highlights from the 2012 season, go for it. If anyone finds a pro highlight video for McDermott, drop it in the comments or let me know and I’ll add it in.

According to his bio on the Vikings website, he “went on a safari and tracked gorillas in Africa during the offseason.” Interesting.

Austin Cutting

Cutting was drafted 250th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and was the only LS selected. Anytime you pick a long snapper, people are gonna assume something is going on, so I’m assuming something is going on. But before we even get into whether or not Cutting can really compete for this spot or what the Vikings are planning to do, we have to consider the fact that Cutting might not even be allowed to play.

Because he graduated from the Air Force Academy, Cutting theoretically has to complete his two-year service requirement, which would make it pretty difficult to be on an NFL roster. He’s currently on 60-day leave after graduation, and he’s waiting for the Air Force to decide if he can defer his service requirement and if he’ll even be able to compete for a roster spot. The decision actually could have some wide-ranging implications for a number of Air Force athletes (not just football players), so it’s definitely worth following regardless.

For the sake of this piece, let’s assume he can play, if only because if we don’t, then this article is over. And you don’t want that, do you? Before the film breakdown?

Here we have the film. The punt snaps part is definitely more fun because we get to see him go tackle people, whereas the field goal snaps are just snaps. Check him out in the UNLV highlight starting at 2:22. A guy tries to block him off the line and fails miserably. The man cannot be tamed.

Other important things: look at him killing it at the Big House. No moment is too big for him. And, something that could be useful, look at the game in the snow. He has experience in the cold! Could be huge for those NFC North road games in December.

According to his bio on the Air Force website, he “helped Air Force hit 45 of 46 extra points and 10 of 13 field goals on the season.” I don’t know how we can use that information, but I guess that’s a good thing?

What was the point of this?

First of all, both these guys are beasts. Maybe you think long snapping is a joke, but these guys are serious athletes. Being a long snapper has to be one of the most thankless jobs in all of sports, because if you snap well nobody says anything and if you make even the slightest mistake everything gets blamed on you.

I have no idea which guy is gonna win this competition. It seems like McDermott would have the upper hand, but why did Rick Spielman draft Cutting? Maybe it’s just a bunch of smoke with no fire, but I don’t think they would waste a draft pick just to rile people up (although to be fair, that’s basically what the Moritz Böhringer saga was). There’s also the fact that Cutting might not be able to play anyways, so we’ll have to wait for that to play out.

Regardless, though, this will be a fun one to watch. Training camp can’t come soon enough.